A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away they were called Jedi Knights. In Roman and Greek mythology they were worshipped as gods. In comic books they were known as superheroes. But in real life, they were simply called custodians.
When Phillip Sallinger found out that he had superpowers, he jumped up and raised his arms in victory. “I’m a superhero!” he shouts. “Or a custodian. Or whatever. Same difference. Either way, I have the Force!”
Yes, Phillip had a superpower (he was telekinetic). But he was also blind. And that meant he could only move objects that he was intimately familiar with (like a mobile phone or a bar of soap).
But his blindness didn’t stop him from assembling an awesome custodial crew. Joining him in his superhero club was Henry, a wheelchair enabled mind reader, Bentley, a genius with ataxic cerebral palsy, Penelope, a girl who could control the weather but had an aversion to sunlight, James, a blind teleporter, Fred, a guy with Henry Pym-like growing abilities and chronic asthma, Delilah, a deaf girl with super hearing, and Donnie, a 25-year-old adult with Down syndrome and mysterious powers. Never mind that Phillip and his friends each had a physical handicap that landed them in a high school special education class. It didn’t matter. All together they were the Incred-Ables.
Without question, author Jeremy Scott has written a supremely high-concept novel. He could probably walk into any Hollywood pitch meeting and utter the words “superheroes with disabilities” and be rewarded with a straight-to-series TV deal. Good for him.
Unfortunately for readers, The Ables takes a long time to gain momentum. After a cute first scene, the novel struggles to find a balance between exposition, action, and stage setting. Not until the villain is introduced in Chapter 13 (page 144) does anything interesting happen. “It’s time to be proactive,” says one of the Ables. Thank goodness!
Once the kids bump into Mr. Finch at the city library, the novel quickly captures lightning in a bottle. We confess that we almost gave up reading this book a couple of times. But we’re glad we stuck with it. Despite our impatience, The Ables eventually delivers its high-concept promise along with the author’s message. Which is: Everybody in this world has a unique combination of ability and disability. Says Bentley, the group’s super genius: “Make no mistake, we are hindered only by our determination and bound only by our imagination.”
[The Ables / By Jeremy Scott / First Printing: May 2015 / ISBN: 9781940262659]